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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) lies at the center of organic marketing strategies. So what if there was a way to generate more targeted leads to your website without ads?

Well, it’s possible with the use of keyword domain names. Businesses use keyword domain names, including exact domain match and partial match, to increase leads from search engine pages. 

However, keyword domain names aren’t silver bullets. There are right and wrong ways to go about using them. If you want to avoid any search engine punishments, make sure you’re using keyword domain names correctly.

Keep reading to learn:

  • What a keyword domain name is
  • How to choose a keyword domain and use it to generate leads for your website

What Is a Keyword Domain Name?

Keyword domain names are domains that you register in addition to your primary domain. In other words, keyword domain names target specific search terms to drive more traffic to your website.

How Do Keyword Domain Names Work?

Using keyword domain names to generate website leads does not mean you’re changing your primary domain name or the name of your business. Instead, you register additional domain names and forward the traffic to your website.

For example, let’s say you own a bakery called The Cake Boss, and you sell both vegan and non-vegan cakes. Your primary domain name might be

Now say you want to drive more leads to your website, specifically from people searching for vegan cakes. You can register the domain and forward the traffic to your website. 

This additional domain targets a specific segment of your audience: vegans. Your primary domain name might not be optimized for “vegan cakes”, but your keyword domain name allows you to rank higher.

Domain Names and SEO Ranking

Before we go into more detail about using exact domain match and keyword domain names, it’s essential to look at the big picture of SEO.

Your domain name is only one of many factors that affect your SEO rank. Search engines analyze various factors to find websites that provide the most relevant information and best user experience.

Domain names are not a top factor in your SEO ranking, but they are still significant. On the one hand, targeted keywords can help increase your search relevancy. But, on the other hand, over-optimized domain names might look spammy and rank lower.

This is why you must follow SEO best practices for your primary domain name and when using additional exact match domain names. 

Keep domain names short, memorable, and relevant. Additionally, you want to avoid using confusing spelling or hyphens.

Types of Keyword Domain Names

When people think of keyword domain names, they’re often thinking of an exact match domain. However, you can also use partial match domains or even consider exact match business naming as an alternative.

Exact Match Domain (EMD)

An exact match domain is a literal match for a targeted keyword. In the above example, is an exact match domain for the search term “vegan cakes.” 

These are additional domains intended to help businesses rank higher on search engine result pages (SERPs) for specific keywords. 

Exact match domain examples include or In the cast of, the business optimized its domain and business name for the search term “hotels.” 

Partial Match Domain

As the name suggests, a partial match domain is a domain name that includes only part of the keyword you want to target.

Often, partial match domains include the brand name plus a partial keyword match. For example, is a partial match for the keyword “bikes.” 

In general, partial match domain names are best when using a local keyword (geographic keywords) or lower competition keywords. 

Exact Match Business Name

Exact match business names are not technically keyword domain names; instead, they’re potential alternatives to using a partial or exact match domain. 

Exact match business names include keywords in a business name to optimize for Google My Business listings. 

Google My Business listings appear in both search results and map results. By optimizing your business name for relevant search terms, you can increase your business listing rank. 


If your business name includes a common search term, Google might assume that users are performing a branded search. 

For example, if you own a moving truck rental company, including the term “truck” or “truck rental” in your business name can increase your page ranking.

Here you see that Penske Truck Rental and Budget Truck Rental are ranked higher than Uhaul, which doesn’t include the keyword in its business name.

Unlike an exact match domain, an Exact Match Business Name includes the keyword in its primary domain and in its Google My Business profile. 

So, if you’re still working on your business name, see if any relevant keywords can increase your local search ranking.

Creating Effective Keyword-Rich Domain Names

Unlike your primary domain, you can have a virtually unlimited number of keyword domain names. 

But you might be thinking, “How do I choose a keyword domain name?”

Well, as mentioned before, you want to follow the SEO guidelines for domain names. Keep them relevant, short, and easy to remember. 

Try to find keyword-rich domain names without appearing like you’re keyword stuffing. Staying short and relevant will help you stay on Google’s good side.

As for brainstorming, here are a few methods that can help you out. 

Audit Your Offerings

Make a list of all of the products and services you offer. More often than not, you’ll find a few products that are common search queries. 

Search Your Existing Keywords

If you already have a list of keywords you’re optimizing for, you can use them to help you find keyword domains. 

Type your keywords into Google (or any other search engine) and note the suggested search terms. One of them might be an appropriate domain name.

Furthermore, take a look at the keywords that you have a hard time ranking for and see who is ranking at the top. Perhaps an exact match domain (or even a partial) could give you an edge.

Look for Trending Searches

Google Trends is an excellent way to stay on top of consumer interest. Search your main keywords here to find suggested topics and keyword clusters. You might find a growing interest in a specific product type or segment. 

Step Into Your Customers’ Shoes

Often the way we think of our brands doesn’t match up precisely with what our customers think. While you may know your products inside and out, it’s the customer’s opinion that matters the most for search ranking. 

Imagine you are a customer searching for your type of product. What keywords are you using? Which domain names look spammy? 

How To Use Keyword Domain Names To Generate Leads

Using an exact match domain or any other keyword domain strategy should be done with care. There’s a fine line between relevant domain names and spammy practices.

Since it’s easy to abuse keyword domains, you need to make sure Google views your domains positively. 

Follow these best practices to avoid any SEO punishment.

When in Doubt, Go Shorter

One of the difficult parts of using an exact match domain is that many keyword domains are already taken. If you find that the domain you want is unavailable, don’t add words to it until you have an available one

Search engines associate long domain names with old-school spammy practices. As an alternative, we recommend looking for partial match domains instead. 

You can also choose to look for other, less competitive keywords that are still relevant. Adding a location keyword might be an appropriate solution here.

Forward Users to High-Quality Websites

If your website doesn’t provide high-quality information, it will not perform well on SERPs, no matter how relevant the domain name. 

Before you go trying to find targeted leads, get your house in order. To put it another way, you shouldn’t be exploring keyword domain names until after your primary domain meets SEO requirements.

If you’re using a WordPress website, we recommend installing the Yoast SEO plugin and using WordPress settings to optimize for on-page and technical SEO. 

Create Shareable Content

Backlinking is one of the most effective ways to build domain authority. So, keep this in mind when choosing your keyword domain names and building your website. 

Look at some of the publications or bloggers in your industry to see what they’re writing about. 

Let’s consider the example. It’s easy to see how vegan bloggers or companies would use it in articles about desserts, birthdays, or other celebrations.

Ask yourself, “How can your products be a resource for others or answer a common question?”

Speed Up Your Website

Page speed and site speed are two of the top factors that influence your SEO rankings. You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to see if your site speed needs improvement. 

If your website is slow, you may need to clean up your code files, compress your images, or consider using a content delivery network

For WordPress users, make sure that you’re choosing a theme built with SEO in mind. Several WordPress SEO themes ensure faster page speed and follow other best practices.

Finally, make sure your web hosting services are up to speed. Your web hosting plays a significant role when it comes to website speed and overall reliability. Google takes both of these into account when looking for the best user experience.

Bluehost offers SEO Tools to help you create an SEO plan and perform routine website checks to look for weaknesses.

In the early days of SEO, tactics like the exact match domain were popular but quickly gained a reputation as spammy. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use keyword domain names to generate leads for your website. 

If you take the time to do your research and understand your customer, then a keyword domain name can give you an edge on search engine result pages. 

As long as you continue to follow the best practices for on-page and technical SEO, you can drive more leads without suffering SEO punishment.

For more information about website hosting services built to handle your SEO needs, explore Bluehost’s web hosting plans today.

  • Machielle Thomas

    Machielle is a content enthusiast who has a passion for bridging the gap between audiences and brands through impactful storytelling. Machielle has also spoken at dozens of WordCamps throughout the years.

    Texas State University
    Previous Experience
    Brand Content, Content Marketing, Brand Lead, Operations Lead, Course Instructor
    Other publications
    Shopify, Contently
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